WOULD you like to see a giant Phascolarctos cinereus erected in Campbelltown?
Sue Dobson does.
She's going to ask her council to investigate building a "big koala" in our leafy city to help attract more tourists.
I'm not sure where it would measure on the kitsch scale but it would certainly put Campbelltown on Australia's list of big things — from the Big Banana and the Big Pineapple to the Big Golden Guitar.
We've recently reported on local MP Jai Rowell's dream to build a koala interpretation centre in our new Dharawal National Park. And look on page 10, you'll see proposals for a giant tourist centre at our botanic garden.
So where would Cr Dobson's big koala fit into those scenarios? And if it was built, would it be full of tacky souvenirs — or treated like an education facility about the animals?
That's important. (For those wondering why koalas carry their babies on their backs the answer is simple — they can't push prams up trees.)
And the one fact most Aussies do know is that a koala eats roots and leaves. But Dr Robert Close tells me that might not be strictly correct either.
It's all very educational.
And although I might be sounding a tad flippant at this point, I can assure you eco-tourism is a serious business, sustaining entire towns. Koalas alone bring in billions of tourist dollars each year, or so the experts claim.
So if Campbelltown was to get coachloads of cash-laden tourists bound otherwise for the Blue Mountains maybe Cr Dobson's idea is worthy of an investigation at least.
Campbelltown has its botanic garden, its new national park, and is within easy reach of the Sydney day-tourism market.
But — if a big koala is built, please, it must be done with artistic style. (One of those big koalas down in Victoria has an expression on its face that suggests the poor thing has just sat on an echidna.)
I'm reminded of the old joke: Why are koalas so sleepy? They get tired from being so darn cute all day. So if our city is going to have a giant tourism landmark, I guess a cute furry one is a nice start. Poor Hexham has a Big Mosquito!
Some of us still remember the failed 1990 campaign to build a local statue of Fisher's Ghost.
Is a koala more bearable?